71% of Americans approve of labor unions

Gallup has conducted a poll that revealed 71 percent of Americans approve of labor unions, up from 64 percent from before the pandemic. 

The approval rating is the highest it's been in almost six decades. The pandemic was a large factor in the higher rating because it "altered the balance of power between employers and employees, creating an environment fostering union membership that has resulted in the formation of unions at several high-profile companies," the study said. 

The results come from Gallup's "Work and Education" survey, which was conducted from Aug. 1 to Aug. 23. 

The survey found that 16 percent of Americans live in a household with one union member. It also found that 1 in 5 frontline and production workers belong to a union. Additionally, 1 in 10 healthcare, social assistance, white-collar, administrative and clerical role workers are members of a union. 

Surveyed union members cited pay and benefits as well as employee rights and representation as their top two reasons for joining a union. Forty percent of union members rated their membership as "extremely important." 

However, 58 percent of nonunion Americans said they aren't interested in joining a union, despite the higher approval rating. 

The survey also found that union membership does not necessarily lead to higher engagement. Twenty-four percent of union members said they were disengaged at work, compared to 17 percent of nonunion workers.

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